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Workplace Safety: We Have a Long Way to Go

The New York lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have been fighting for injured construction workers for decades. Often, as part of their work, they encounter figures that are illustrative of our collective failures when it comes to worker safety. As a society, we are not doing enough. Below, is insight into some of the concerns that we must all embrace and improve upon if we are going to make construction work safer.

There is no room for debate that construction accidents often have deadly consequences. In fact, nearly 20% of all private-industry worker fatalities occurred in the construction industry in 2012 (775 of 3,945), according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by workers who were struck by objects, typically a falling object at a worksite, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These causes-what OSHA refers to as the "Fatal Four"-were responsible for nearly three out of five (56%) construction worker deaths in 2012.

  • Falls - 278 out of 775 total deaths in construction in 2012 (36%)
  • Struck by Object - 78 (10%)
  • Electrocutions - 66 (9%)
  • Caught-in/between - 13 (2%)

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in the 2013 fiscal year:

  • Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  • Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  • Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
  • Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
  • Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  • Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
  • Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
  • Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)

Despite federal (OSHA), state and local regulations pertaining to construction work and equipment, fatal and devastating accidents still happen far too often. The senseless thing about it is that many of these tragic accidents can be eliminated with proper training, coordinated planning and communication and a commitment to embracing safety as the most important thing at a construction site.

Block O'Toole & Murphy fights to protect the rights of those injured, or tragically killed, in construction accidents. We are committed to helping injured construction workers and their families during a very difficult time. The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP have built security for and provided comfort to injured workers and their families on countless occasions. Their results for injured construction workers and the more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients are a product of talent, hard work and dedication. It also explains why this team of trial lawyers is universally respected by the bar. You can call them anytime for a free consultation at 212.736.5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm's website.